Statement from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT):
It is OK to switch brands. Companies want mums to think the opposite to keep them brand loyal and keep the money flowing in to that company.
You do not have to tail off the milk you can just switch and keep switching till you find something your baby can tolerate.
The recommended milk for a baby under one who is not breastfed is infant formula - any brand - they all by law have to have the same nutritional content within very narrow limits.
Follow on milk is a made up product to get round the law and is not needed and has some risks (too much iron in it for example)
Other milks are made to get round the downsides of formula and there is little or no evidence to support them. Eg Comfort is marketed to stop the constipation caused by formula. If babies are having difficulties tolerating formula milk the mum is best to see a healthcare professional.
Once a baby reaches 6 months ordinary cow's milk can be used as a mixer with foods such as porridge if the mum doesn't want to use expensive formula or has no expressed breastmilk to hand.
Once a baby reaches a year instead of formula they can have full fat doorstep cows milk as their main milk drink instead of formula. At one though babies still benefit from breastmilk and the WHO evidence shows that there is evidence of continued benefit by continuing into the childs second year. Each day a mum breastfeeds she lowers her own risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Formula appears over priced for what it is. A tin costs probably less than £2 to make and it is sold for about £10 so there is profiteering going on it would seem - they use this profit to produce the endless TV adds that affect the thinking of the next generation.
This document is very useful reading for anyone using formulahttp://www.firststepsnutrition.org/news.html#infantmilks and if we can get this link out and about so much the better.
NCT has a lot of info on its site about formula use http://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/bottle-feeding-your-baby and the helpline 0300 330 0700 can help too.
Although all the above is true, the parent may just want to go on using the brand they have been using and it is fine for us to help them do that. We want to alleviate distress now while providing good information for people to reflect on later.
The other thing this highlights is the dependence mums have on a commercial company once their breastmilk supply goes. It is very frightening to be so dependent and for the long term the more NCT can do to help all then mums who want to breastfeed helps make them less dependent -on a profit making industry. If I had a magic wand we would also have human milk available via milk banks for those times when a mum isn't there or can't feed the baby herself but that's in my dreams.
NCT can't and isn't in the business of promoting or selling formula. We abide by the WHO code http://www.ibfan.org/issue-international_code-code.html so tins must not be given to mums who are not already using formula. Tins must not be bought and sold by NCT.